Indonesia President-elect vows to further strengthen ties with Japan after China visit


TOKYO (AP) — Indonesia’s President-elect Prabowo Subianto said he wants to “further strengthen” ties with Japan as he met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday following a visit to China.

Subianto, who is currently the defense minister, told Kishida that the two countries are long-time friends who have built a cooperative relationship, and he hoped the relationship would grow stronger.

In the face of China’s increasingly aggressive military presence, Japan is seeking closer ties with Southeast Asian countries, particularly in maritime security and defense.

Subianto, who will succeed Joko Widodo in October, chose Beijing for his first official trip abroad since february election victory To emphasize stable relations with China amid rising tensions in the South China Sea, where China and Philippines There have been repeated conflicts on the high seas. In his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Subianto promised a continued friendly policy towards China.

China is Indonesia’s largest trading partner, Beijing is investing in major infrastructure projects, and Indonesia has maintained a relatively neutral stance amid rising tensions between China and the Philippines over rival territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Kishida welcomed Subianto’s inaugural visit to Tokyo and told his would-be counterpart that the two countries are longtime friends who share core values ​​and principles, and regarded Japan as a “comprehensive and strategic partner” regionally and globally. There is hope to further strengthen cooperation on issues.

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Kishida said Japan hopes to contribute to Indonesia’s development in areas including infrastructure and energy while increasing cooperation in security and defense.

Kishida’s meeting with Subianto comes just a week before the Japanese leader travels to Washington for a summit with US President Joe Biden, and will follow three-way talks that will also include Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., in which the leaders Looking forward to further discussion. Strengthening security ties.

Later on Wednesday, Subianto spoke to Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara. The two ministers vowed to expand defense cooperation, the Japanese Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Japan and Indonesia are expanding joint exercises as well as capacity-building and educational programs in the Indo-Pacific region, Kihara told reporters after the talks.

“I am committed to strengthening cooperation between our two maritime nations to achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific based on the rule of law,” he said.

Associated Press video journalist Ayaka McGill contributed to this report.

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